Bear has a knack for creating memorable characters. In this one, it's the ranids -- frog-like aliens with a fascinating culture and physiology who have a unique way of looking at the world. Add in a futuristic human culture that, of course, cannot help but impose itself on what is assumed to be a backward and backwater planet, and you have a fascinating book, particularly for readers who enjoy complex and nuanced tales.
When Andre is contracted to kill the partner of conjure-man Jean Gris, he lands in the midst of a revolution, one that's been brewing for years underwater and in back alleyways. (Bantam Spectra, Aug., 332 pp., $6.99)